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Renée Zellweger To Make Directorial Debut With ‘4 1/2 Minutes,’ Michael Keaton Also Lines Up Helming Gig

Renée Zellweger To Make Directorial Debut With '4 1/2 Minutes,' Michael Keaton Also Lines Up Helming Gig

Isn’t it enough to be handsomely paid and adored the world over? If you’re a movie star, the answer is no, and you also long for a creatively fulfilling life behind the camera. After all, your good looks aren’t going to last forever, and so naturally a lot of actors start directing movies when interest in on-screen performances has faded (look at Clint Eastwood and Robert Redford, two directorial heavyweights who rarely find themselves in front of the lens). Well, Renée Zellweger is about to make her debut film while Michael Keaton is returning to directorial duties, with two very different movies.

Variety is reporting that Zellweger will both direct and star in “4 ½ Minutes,” a comedy set in the world of New York City stand-up comedy. The film will costar wild man Johnny Knoxville (is he wild anymore? We can never tell) and the story concerns a stand-up comic named Jimmy Bennett, described in the Variety piece as a “commitment-phobic, train-wreck of a comedian whose life is falling apart when he takes a job looking after the genius son of single mom P.J. Andersen (Zellweger).” Uh, alright. The movie is supposedly based on the life of stand-up comic Dov Davidoff, who also gets story credit, with scripting duties falling to Anthony Tambakis, who wrote the terrific family melodrama/fighting movie “Warrior.” Shooting is set to begin in February in New York City. We hope this is good, it’s been a while since Zellweger has been associated with anything even remotely passable. And she has an Oscar!

Variety is also reporting that Michael Keaton, who they describe as having a “career resurgence” after his recent casting in “RoboCop” (but, really, has been doing great work all along – see his recent performance in Adam McKay‘s “The Other Guys” as the TLC-quoting police chief), is set to helm a feature as well. Entitled “Buttercup,” the Alice O’Neil-scripted project was originally spearheaded by “Whale Rider” director Niki Caro (and was linked to Sarah Polley at one point as well), and according to the report, involves “an adult woman who is forced to assume responsibility for her elderly father after he is arrested for drunk driving again. In doing so, she learns to not only accept his faults, but finally trust the other men in her life.” The title is a reference to the father’s nickname for his daughter, which is pretty cute.

“Buttercup” is being produced by Michael London‘s Groundswell Productions, and while Jennifer Aniston and Alan Arkin were attached to star at one point, they seem to have left the production. (Casting is currently underway.) Producing alongside London are “Ocean’s Thirteen” writers Brian Koppelman and David Levien, alongside Heather Rae (“Frozen River“). Keaton previously directed 2008’s little-seen “The Merry Gentleman.” 

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